Himalaya Gate: the Himalayan glacier melt fiasco!

Its been a while since the shit hit the fan. I found this post in my archives; never did go about publishing it.

There was the CRU-Gate also known as Climate Gate where emails of the scientists within the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) got hacked and was made publicly available.

Himalaya Gate and a whole lot of other Gates (Amazon GATE) cropped up just around the Copenhagen meet.

WWF Nepal’s report put the year of the touted Himalayan glacier melt at 2035 AD. (appeared in a New Scientist interview in 1999 and a UNESCO document on hydrology in 1996). The Himalayas – the third pole,  a white spot in the IPCC’s projections is melting and that too within a generation. Gobbled up by media hounds and climate aficionados alike, the figure gets accepted by the sacrosanct IPCC and is featured its 2007 report.

Right before the Climate change negotiations, threads are pulled bare and the touted date is said to have been missed by at least a hundred years. The original claim finds home in the speculations of an irate Indian scientist – Syed Hasnain. Not just the portion that refers to the callous figure, but the whole research (all 3000 pages of it) is held questionable. The IPCC chairman is questioned; the very existence of the IPCC is questioned and gives climate deniers a much-needed edge over the vulnerable IPCC. IPCC acknowledges its mistake and requests an independent review into its procedures.

On the other hand, WWF who is at the forefronts of the climate campaign suddenly finds the rug swept under its feet, dives for cover and offers a retraction [pdf]. A very renowned conservation evangelist is sidelined and belittled to an advocacy institution. Truth be told, I never figured the likes of WWF with an impeccable grasp in conservation research (biological corridors and landscapes, monitoring and evaluation, predator-prey dynamics, wildlife census among others) would be belittled to the status of an advocacy organisation.

Update 21 June 2010: The Sunday Times accepted that assessments of risk to the Amazon in both the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and a WWF/International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report on forest fires were not unsubstantiated, but based on peer-reviewed science and apologized for the same more>>.